Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Guilty verdict in Rochdale grooming trial

NB: This post has been updated slightly to reflect subsequent developments.

Nine men have been found guilty at Liverpool Crown Court of operating a child sex ring in Rochdale. The verdict sees all of the offenders jailed, and will hopefully offer some closure to the victims and their families. There is no doubt at all that these were truly horrendous crimes, made worse after police cock-ups allowed them to go undetected for two years.

The trial is the same one which saw a mob of 100 fascists demonstrating outside the courts and rioting against Asian-owned businesses in Rochdale. For the far-right, the case has been proof of a so-called epidemic of Muslim grooming gangs terrorising white girls because they view them as easy meat. It also inspired conspiracy theories about a "news blackout" as a result of political correctness, and "cultural Marxist" complicity in "racist" sexual attacks on whites. Thus, any opposition to the British National Party, North West Infidels or others exploiting the case was portrayed as "supporting" paedophiles.

However, there can be little doubt that the far-right was exploiting the case. To see their attempts to whip up hysteria over the issue, you need only look at the "Labour 25." The website was set up by Liverpool BNP (now National Front) members as a way to associate the Labour Party with child abuse, contains blatantly doctored pictures, distortions, and outright lies. Not to mention that 0.015% of the Labour Party's total membership being convicted of paedophilia is about consistent with the percentage of paedophiles in the country as a whole. It's not at all like, as the far-right's rhetoric implies, there is a large and organised bloc of child sex offenders within the party doing their utmost to push pro-paedophilia legislation.

The fascists' willingness to brand anybody as a paedophile for virtually any reason underlines that their motives are purely reactionary. They have not been at the courts to support the victims, and indeed their violent antics during the protests nearly wrecked the whole case. As those who suffered at the hands of these men relived their harrowing ordeal, the knobheads outside the court wanted only to wave flags and piss about.

Since the verdict, there has been further evidence of far-right attempts to wreck the trial, with BNP leader Nick Griffin tweeting leaked jury deliberations and the North West Infidels revealing the name of one man whose identity was subject to reporting restrictions. This is due to him being charged in other, ongoing cases which may now be prejudiced as a result of his name being leaked.

That doesn't mean there aren't serious questions to be answered. Not the least of which should be why the police convinced victims as far back as 2008 not to press charges. This allowed the crimes to continue for a further two years, only lengthening the ordeal and suffering. There will now be an independent investigation into why this happened, and rightly so.

Rather than any kind of cultural Marxist plot to cover up the crimes of Muslims, however, this fits in with how sexual offences are dealt with generally. With a 6% conviction rate, rape cases as a whole are dealt with poorly - and up to two thirds do not go beyond the investigation stage. This betrays not some politically correct agenda, but rather a horrendous attitude to sex crimes which makes it difficult for victims to seek - let alone get - justice.

The question of race and/or religion is a lot harder to pin down. Mohammed Shafiq, chief executive of The Ramadhan Foundation, says that "they think that white teenage girls are worthless and can be abused without a second thought; it is this sort of behaviour that is bringing shame on our community." Whereas Assistant Chief Constable Steve Heywood of Greater Manchester Police believes that this was simply a case of "adults preying on vulnerable young children" and "it just happens that in this particular area and time, the demographics were that these were Asian men."

There is a strong case for both positions being true. Certainly, the statistics back up Heywood's position, and we're faced with an "outgroup homogenity bias," whereby "if a white man commits a rape, he’s just a rapist but if a Pakistani does so, he’s a Pakistani rapist." This (perhaps with Muslim exchanged for Pakistani) is where the far-right is coming from, and I have no doubt that their claims of the predators being "racist" is ridiculous.

That being the case, then, how can Shafiq also be right about a problem in the Muslim community? The answer, I'd posit, lies with multiculturalism. Specifically, in that the form of multi-racial society promoted by the state for the past decade.

As Brighton Solidarity Federation once put it;
[M]oney is parcelled out to different imaginary, homogenous ‘communities’ on a racial basis, under the control of ‘community leaders’ – who supposedly represent this entire community and repay this with votes. This corrupts the great lived experience many of us have with multiculturalism, into something repellent – official state ‘multiculturalism’ which explicitly divides people on the basis of race, and gives out money and favours on the basis of a series of different ‘communities’ who need representing.
As a result, this view that "white teenage girls are worthless and can be abused without a second thought" is a convenient one for sexually repressed males looking for an outlet within a culture where socially conservative community leaders frown upon far more healthy expressions of sexuality. At the same time, because this phenomenon happens in areas where "communities" are segregated rather than where people mix freely regardless of race and religion, it is equally true to say that "it just happens that in this particular area and time, the demographics were that these were Asian men."

The ethno-nationalism of the far-right isn't the answer to this, but only the other side of the same coin. In both cases the working class is divided against itself on the basis of arbitrary differences, only what are inadvertent effects of multiculturalism are the intent of fascism. Nazi sexual violence against Jewish women during the holocaust being a case in point. To move away from this kind of phenomenon, we need to move away from trying to package people into "communities."

This won't stop crimes such as the abuse of children. Ultimately, the actions of individuals have to be dealt with as such, and the vile acts committed by the men in this case fall on their heads alone. That they face some form of justice for this has to be a welcome result.